Kamchatka Volcano Region (World Heritage)

The Kamchatka Peninsula in the far east of Siberia impresses with its unique variety of landscapes. Shielded from the outside world, a great natural area has been preserved here, which is characterized by 28 active and up to 4750 m high volcanoes as well as geysers and thermal springs. Impenetrable forests, moors and deep valleys form the habitat for a rich flora and fauna.

Kamchatka Volcano Region: Facts

Official title: Volcanic region of Kamchatka with the Kluchevskoy Nature Park
Natural monument: Peninsula of 33,000 km² with 19 still active volcanoes and the Uzona caldera, a basin of 30 km²; consisting of Kronotsky Zapovednik, Bystrinsky Nature Park, Nalychevo Nature Park, South Kamchatka Nature Park and South Kamchatka State Nature Reserve; Kronotsky Zapovednik since 1934 protected area for sable, since 1984 biosphere reserve, state nature reserve South Kamchatka since 1973 a reserve for migratory birds, since 1995 nature park South Kamchatka and state nature reserve South Kamchatka with 19 of the most active volcanoes on the peninsula
Continent: Asia
Country: Russia
Location: Kamchatka Peninsula, between the Sea of ​​Okhotsk and the Bering Sea
Appointment: 1996
Meaning: one of the most impressive volcanic regions on earth with a high density of active volcanoes
Flora and fauna: 749 plant species are known in Kronotsky Zapovednik, among others. Poa radula and Iosetes asiatica; Coniferous forest in the Bystrinsky Nature Park with 16 plant species that only occur on Kamchatka; Occurrence of sable, American mink, muskrat, Canadian beaver and brown bear; 145 bird species are known in the Nalychevo Nature Park, including osprey, sea eagle and giant sea eagle, peregrine falcon, brent goose and Tibetan snipe

Mountains where ghosts fry whales

Fire-breathing volcanoes and glaciers shape a peninsula in the far east of the Russian giant empire. Here, say the indigenous people of Kamchatka, Koryaks in the north and the Itelmens in the south, the “Gomulen”, giant mountain spirits, who went whaling to sea to roast these marine mammals over an open fire, are said to live on the peaks of the smoking mountains.

Dozens of volcanic cones rise on the Kamchatka Peninsula, which is embedded between the ice-covered Sea of ​​Okhotsk in the west and the cold Bering Sea, the north-easternmost marginal sea of ​​the Pacific Ocean. Only accessible by land through the vast and vast Siberia, this area was explored by Russian Cossacks at the end of the 17th century and subjected to Tsarist Russia. According to ehealthfacts, occasional explorers reported about this region, including Stepan Krasheninnikov, who traveled to Kamchatka as a member of the Great Nordic Expedition under the direction of the Danish Vitus Jonassen Bering, who was in the service of Tsar Peter I: “You will probably not find a second region in the world with so many volcanoes and hot springs are available in such a small space as here. ”

And this “restlessness of the earth” has ensured constant change for generations. After an outbreak, a dark and colorless desert of ash prevails. Only bare tree skeletons protrude into the gray sky, and only after a while does new life awaken: the first saplings of the birch, willow and alder sprout from the ash layers here and there, and a few willowherb blooms.

In addition to the 19 active volcanoes in the reserve, there are arguably hundreds of extinct ones. But what does extinguished mean? The Besimiani, the “nameless”, were also believed to have died out after centuries of inactivity, until it returned in 1956 with a huge eruption. The “Valley of the Geysers” is a unique natural wonder. Due to the subterranean heat of the Kitschpinitsch, which last erupted two centuries ago, huge geysers emit boiling hot water fountains. Some shoot up every minute, others pause for several hours or show no regularity at all. Tronoi, the “threefold”, spews out of three openings at the same time; Sacharny, the “sugar one,” deposits geyserite with the appearance of burnt sugar; and Welikan, the “giant,” shoots his boiling water and steam high into the sky.

Bubbling bubbles burst in funnel-shaped mud kettles and release gases; clouds of steam flow from fumaroles. The minerals dissolved in the water vapor are deposited in different colors to form bizarre structures. Heat-resistant algae and bacteria enhance the impressive color effect.

On June 3, 2007, the “Valley of the Geysers” was almost completely destroyed by a huge landslide. About 4.5 million cubic meters of mud fell into the valley. The stony material formed a dam that dammed the Geysernaya River and made the geysers disappear under the water. The first geyser called Bolshoi – the most beautiful and strongest – revived on September 19, 2007 and has fully regained its original power. The other nine geysers that were covered by the lake initially remained under water.

A colorful wonderland opens up in the Uzona caldera. After violent eruptions and lava discharges, the summit of this volcano sank and formed a gigantic cauldron thousands of years ago. 150 years ago, Karl von Dittmar struggled with his expedition to the crater rim through snow, ice, cold and violent storms and discovered a green paradise at his feet.

On the descent, the invisible border is crossed into another world: Ice and cold remain at the top. The warmed ground with its numerous hot springs has developed its own microclimate in which grasses, dwarf shrubs and even gnarled stone birches thrive. In autumn the caldera explodes in a frenzy of colors: lush green grass mats, red flaming tundra, golden birch groves, in between blue, clear lakes, hot springs with clouds of steam and white, yellow, red-brown mud pots and clay deposits. Brown bears and snow sheep roam, ptarmigan and mountain hares find enough food, whooper swans, sea ducks and loons populate the water bodies.

But Kamchatka’s mountain spirits are jealous: Most of the time, they cover the radiant beauty of the snow-capped volcanic chains with thick clouds of mist.

Kamchatka Volcano Region